Economy minister admits life has gotten tougher for Georgians

by | May 8, 2015

Giorgi Kvirikashvili. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–The economy minister in Georgia has finally admitted that people’s conditions have worsened in recent weeks and months. But Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili follows his predecessor and godfather of this government in blaming the devaluation of the national currency on the National Bank.

Candidates for new ministers went before parliament on Thursday and answered questions ahead of the formal vote of confidence on Friday. Garibashvili said most of the responsibility for the devaluation of the national currency lies ‘of course’ on the National Bank, further adding that the government has an anti-crisis plan and is following it.

“We do our best to help stabilize the lari, which will start in 2-3 weeks,” he said, explaining that import has been reduced, while the government has already sold off several properties.

Ssoon, the thermo-electric power station in Gardabani will be sold and this will bring USD 300 million into the state coffers, the PM continued. He blamed the opposition for engaging in spin and deliberately misleading people about the situation in the country.

But Economy Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said that people’s conditions have worsened and that he is ‘very sorry about that.’

“I can tell you that in the beginning of 2008, before the August war, the economy was slowing down. Who was responsible then? Why didn’t you ask those questions to your leaders back then?” he responded to the National Movement MPs.

As for the worsened life of Georgians, he put the question to them, will MPs dare ask the same questions to the leaders of states where the national currency has been depreciated by 30 percent, like Azerbaijan and Turkey?

“I want to repeat that maybe we make mistakes and everything is not perfect, but aggravating the problem, like you do, is not quite objective, I think, and cannot bring us any results.”

Unlike Kvirikashvili, Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri attempted to refute  accusations from the opposition about the national currency.

He said that the budget expenses never put pressure on the lari, external shocks did. He called on the opposition to read the Constitution and learn who implements the monetary policy, hinting that the National Bank is responsible.

But MP Zurab Japaridze from the National Movement asked him to specify which article in the Constitution says that the National Bank is responsible for the stability of the lari. Khaduri responded that the National Banks is responsible.

The lari began to drop in November, 2014, when one USD was 1.75 lari. After stabilizing a few days, the lari again dropped today to 2.3294 USD.


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